There has been much dispute recently over the cause of death of a Chihuahua named Lacy at the San Bernardino Animal Shelter. According to multiple Facebook postings by angry animal activists, the little dog froze to death on a cold cement floor because the shelter did not provide blankets or heating in the kennels.
The small, black dog came into the shelter with her brother on February 9, 2019. She was wearing a pink sweater when she arrived which was removed and never returned. On February 14, 2019, the rescue net workers and volunteers were notified that the chihuahua referred to as A521342 was found dead in her kennel.
There is strong belief, by those who oppose the San Bernardino shelter’s current leadership, that the dog froze to death because the new acting shelter manager Lt. Frank Macomber ruled that none of the animals are allowed blankets, beds or sweaters – even in chilly temperatures. In a press release, however, issued by the shelter on February 21, 2019, the dog did not freeze to death, but died from complications after being spayed. They also stated that the kennels are heated geothermically and by electric overhead heaters.
According to an article in the San Bernardino Sun Police spokeswoman Sadie Albers stated:
“We are taking care of the animals at the shelter, and they are provided adequate heating and given blankets when temperatures get low, so we do take their comfort and health seriously.”
In an update posted on Facebook on March 6, 2019, acting shelter manager Lieutenant Macomber agreed to allow blankets in the kennels and to hire additional staff, yet he recently refused to accept a $1000.00 donation towards the purchase of beds for the dogs. Also, when he took the position, he allegedly tossed all the newly donated dog beds into the dumpster.
According to an insider; the dogs are only allowed to have blankets at nigh, in the rear portion of the kennels. During the day the dogs are forced to sleep on cold cement floors that are sometimes wet if recently hosed down. This includes senior dogs, small dogs like Lacey, dogs with fractured legs and pregnant dogs. A volunteer is stating some dogs are allowed blankets and beds at this time.
According to another article in the San Bernardino Sun There has been much scrutiny and criticism of the San Bernardino Shelter since Lieutenant Macomber took over the operation, when then manager Oscar Perez was placed on administrative leave on September 10, 2018.
In November 2018, protesters spoke out against interim manager Lt. Macomber. Their main complaint was he had healthy animals euthanized. Protesters also said the lieutenant had turned away volunteers, animal groomers and rescuers. This also created a list of bullet points as to why Macomber was not suited for the job.
1) He does not follow the mission statement of the SBC shelter. He is killing perfectly healthy animals even if they have potential adopters or rescuers waiting for them. Two months ago the kill rate at the shelter was 11%. In the 60 days that he has been there, the kill rate has jumped to 25%.
2) He had covered fences installed in front of the kennels, so the animals do not see outside visitors or kennel mates for companionship or comfort. Potential adopters cannot see in, and families looking for lost pets cannot see them. This jeopardizes the mental welfare of these animals, causing kennel stress, biting at the bars, turning circles, or cowering in corners.
3) He has limited where the volunteers are allowed to go, including the medical area, isolation area, and confiscated animals section. Those areas are not cleaned properly, and when they are, it’s with a hose and the terrified animal is still locked inside its cage.
4) He has downsized staff so that they are over-worked. He has turned away volunteers so the animals do not have time spent with them during their care, and so he can euthanize animals without outside influence or eyes watching. He threatens staff with their jobs if they don’t do as told.
5) The facility upgrades are only those that seclude the already terrified or injured animals. Dogs are mislabeled as aggressive based on breed and without taking into consideration how terrified they are.
According to an article in the San Bernardino Sun, allegations of the mistreatment of animals at the San Bernardino shelter goes back to 2013. The main issue then was killing dogs before their stray hold was up and killing dogs that had rescue holds.
In another 2013 publication, an ex-shelter worker came forward alleging acts of extreme cruelty at the San Bernardino city shelter. The worker who was unnamed, stated that dogs were hung by leashes and that “animals were given a third of the required euthanasia drugs and suffered a slow death.” There were also allegations of dogs being killed days prior to their due dates out and issues of uncleanliness and problems with disease.
It’s time for a major change and overhaul of the San Bernardino shelter. Abuse and mishandling of animals has gone on for too long.
A petition has been launched demanding Lt. Macomber be replaced as Shelter Manager.
Concerned citizens can also contact San Bernardino Mayor John Valdivia by phone 909-384-5133 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.